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University of Delaware

University of Delaware

Then UD graduate students Anne Cross and Emelie Gevalt examine and discuss objects in the Winterthur Museum collection. Photograph by Jim Schenck.

At the University of Delaware (UD), Jennifer teaches courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels on the art and material culture of the United States, museum studies, and theories and methods of material culture study. Recent graduate seminars include: the Material and Visual Culture of Slavery, Landscapes of Enslavement, Faces and Places in the Eighteenth Century, and Scale in Vast Early America. 

A core aim of her courses is to offer participants hands-on experiences with historic artifacts, field-based learning opportunities, guest lectures from scholars and museum professionals, and public-facing assignments that contribute to area cultural institutions. 

Students in her past classes have created object videos for Truths of the Trade: Slavery and the Winterthur Collection, a student-driven exhibition, and digital exhibit, which empowered students to contribute their own voices and insights to Winterthur Museum’s interpretation of enslavement. Students have written reviews for an online guide to local cultural resources, known as DE MuseReviews. Their reviews encourage UD undergraduates to explore the museums and historic sites around them. Jennifer’s course on public memorials, monuments, and enslavement supported the UD Anti-Racism Initiative (UDARI). The statements that students drafted about ongoing research into campus histories relating to enslavement and dispossession, and the importance of telling those stories, are intended to be used as web text for a landing page about efforts to recover UD’s full history. 

Jennifer is always interested in hearing from prospective M.A. and Ph.D. students. She has advised graduate students in UD’s Art History Program, the American Civilization Program, and the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture

Her current UD Ph.D. advisees are working on dissertation topics as varied as: pastel and pastel artists in British North America; the intersection of craft and tourism in 20th-century Appalachia; depictions of people of African descent in 18thand 19th-century New England; optical technologies and the control and resistance of enslaved people on 18th-century southern plantations. Past M.A. students, including those in the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, have written about: enslaved craftspeople in colonial Annapolis, Maryland; botanical circulation and enslavement in relation to the Peale family; cabinetmaking and the labor of enslaved people in Natchez, Mississippi. 

Then UD graduate students Megan Baker and Joseph Litts examine and discuss objects in the Winterthur Museum collection.

Jennifer Van Horn
University of Delaware